Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Choice and Circumstance

Got a LOT of flack for yesterday's post on working women and stay at home women supporting each other. What about Single Moms? What about stay at home Dad's? What about the homeless?
What about taking the post for what it was....a call for we women to support each other with our choices. I obviously was too vague in my writing and for that I apologize. My circle is suburban housewives...and I DON'T apologize for that at all! I made the CHOICE to raise my family here for all that it offers the kids and us as a family. It does NOT, however, make me blind to women in emotional and financial peril. In fact it makes me want to help more. Especially for the children involved. They did not choose to be born.

We live in a modern, civilized country. It's NOT perfect and women are victims of crime daily but we do have choices that many women in the 3rd world WISH they had. For the most part we get to choose when and how and with whom we have children with. We have access to birth control, to health care and education. Women in the West need to stand up and OWN their choices! Because we HAVE THEM! Of course there are women that do not have choice in our society but that is a different discussion. I'm sure we can all come up with examples. I'm referring to the "average" woman in the West.

I have been sponsoring women over seas for a number of years now through a great organization called Women to Women International. They match you up with a woman from a poor country and you pay $27 a month to help her get access to health care, job skills and human rights training. And you can write letters to each other that is translated by volunteers. EYE OPENING to say the least. One lady from the Congo has 8 kids and can only spell her name. Lives in a hut and has to walk miles to fetch water. She was married by arrangement then abandoned by her husband when she was gang raped. In her culture it's the woman's fault if she is raped. It brings shame to the family so they kick her out of the village. She was lucky enough to be able to take her children as the husband was ill with HIV. My ladies in Afghanistan face similar hardships.

So when a woman complains to me about her life here I get a little annoyed. You made the choice to marry that guy or have kids with that guy. You made the choice to have kids young or wait and have them after you got an education or travelled. You made the choice to stay home and make one pay cheque stretch or have a daycare or sell products. You made the choice to work outside the home and try to balance it all. You made the choice to walk away and do it all on your own. Or you made the choice not to have kids at all! You get to decide! There are of course cases where there is an "accident"...had one myself...but we were not using birth control. A choice! Do we regret some of those choices? Hell YA! I stayed in an abusive relationship for 2 years...what an idiot I was!  I've been unkind, belligerent, and down right nasty at times. I've had days when my kids drove me NUTS and I raised my voice repeatedly. I've said things in the heat of the moment that should not have been said...just yesterday in fact...lol... Regret those choices for sure. We are human...we screw up!  

BUT! We don't decide everything. Shit happens....a marriage breaks up blindsiding a spouse....you lose your job...you have a child born with a developmental disability...you lose a parent....etc... You do however have a choice in how you deal with it. Go ahead and fall apart for a while....my shoulders are here any time you need it. But do get back on your feet and put one foot in front of the other. Start all over again if need be. Women in the West can do that...we have access to shelters, counselling, education etc...most of what you may need is out there! The system is far from perfect..and wait lists are long for some. Took 10 MONTHS to get Joe diagnosed. But we have the social safety net that allows us the choice to heal however we need or feel we need. Does it address all needs? NO! Does it need more funding? YES! But at least it's a start. It was after counselling that I realized a pattern of dating the wrong kind of men and why.  (another discussion I would love to have) It was after Joe was diagnosed with Autism that I realized my inner strength and trusted my instincts. And recently it was after the death of my mother that I realized that I need to take better care of myself. Hard to choose me over everything else but I'm learning...and mostly from the advice and support from other women! 

This is a blog....and therefore my opinion. I welcome comments and hope we can talk about this. Maybe you think I'm a hardened bitch...that's fine with me. Maybe I am! Strongly believe in social programs! Strongly believe in personal responsibility! But I do walk the walk with women's issues. Support a few women in Afghanistan and the Congo, make donations to Planned Parenthood and other agencies that support women and children in need, collect clothes for the homeless and the Women's shelter. Support my friends when they are down in any way I can. Have babysat, given rides, went to doctors appointments just to hold their hand. Go into Autism meetings with parents all the time. Go with Moms to meet the social workers and therapists. My couch has been a safe place for some. Listen when needed. Talk when needed.  And feel dam lucky I can do it too. There have been many a time in my life that putting that foot in front of the other was almost impossible....but I did it. And was grateful for the support of the people and especially WOMEN in my life at the time.

So ladies...let's just support each other. Life is hard! And Dad's? Well..that will be another post. But for the record I support your choices too. And when shit happens my shoulders to you too!

PS...no shopping! Though I keep seeing the cutest capris and sandals on my friends. So tempting!!!!!!!

And this Blog has taught me something as well....I think I'm not too nice for politics! I can take it! And dish it! LOL!

Big Momma LOVE to you all! XO

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